Monday, July 28, 2014

It's the journey...


Joan wanted to do a seaplane trip to Seattle for my birthday... the timing didn't work out.  Then, the weather didn't work out.  Then, the President was in Seattle, and that shut down some of the airspace.  Yep, timing.

Today is the day.

The day started out clear and beautiful...


We were up early enough that it was a leisurely morning before heading to the seaplane dock.  Some of you may know that I was a pilot for a lot of years.  I enjoy airplanes.  Seaplanes are a lot of fun.  I do not enjoy flying commercial... any place you sit in the plane that isn't in the cockpit means you are "cargo."  Small planes, however, are different.  And, flying with Kenmore Air, you don't have to go through all that TSA crap.  Or, be there two hours early.  Or, take off your shoes and belt.

I didn't care where we were going, I was excited about the seaplane.  The Blonde, too.  Heading down the dock...


Yes, shorts - it is that nice.  We were at the seaplane dock at the time we were told - we knew there would be a short wait for the plane...


Then, the sound of a turbo-prop approaching...


I was excited to see the Evening Show plane - it looks sharp!  There were 9 of us waiting at the dock.  The pilot got out and called one woman's name.  He put her on the plane, said, "Your plane should be here any minute," and took off.  Pretty sure the rest of us looked dumbfounded.

Sure enough, a couple minutes later, our plane showed up...


Yeah, that one doesn't look as big or as classy.  I looked at the plane, looked at the 8 people still on the dock, and said to Joan, "Someone isn't getting on that plane."  The pilot called out our names, then 4 other people.  One couple said, "What about us?"

The pilot said, "Your plane should be coming soon."

This plane is a Beaver.  Tough as nails, a cool radial engine, but not a lot of room.  Joan and I took the two back seats, one guy sat next to the pilot, and three people squeezed into the middle seats...


The pilot handed out earplugs and said, "You're going to need these - this plane is really loud."

He wasn't kidding.  That big ol' radial roared.  We took off into the crisp morning sky...



Joan was loving it...



Probably because we had a LOT more room than those three in the middle seats.  ;-)  The views were gorgeous...



We flew at about 1,500 feet most of the way.  Arriving at Seattle...



The approach to Lake Union...


At the Kenmore Dock...


We took the short, scenic walk to get on the "trolley"... most places call this "light rail"... it was an easy trip to the middle of downtown...


At the end of the trolley stops, we headed off on foot.  The plan was to wander through Pike Market, check out the waterfront (been a few years since we've been there), do a little shopping, munch our way through town, then fly back.  This truly wasn't about Seattle, as much as it was about going somewhere by seaplane.

A couple city views...



Yep - we are in Seattle...


Pike Place Market...






Looking towards the waterfront...



Beecher's Cheese ('cause man does not live by bread alone)...




Apparently Pike Market isn't sanitary, 'cause this place promotes it...


It's a good thing we flew in; I don't think I can afford to park...


Joan wanted to shop at Patagonia.  The stuff isn't cheap, but it is nice (a lot of our work clothes are Patagonia).  End of the season (?), they had some good sales.  We spent about a week's salary there... yeah, we know how to layer!  ;-)

We ate our way through Mexican earlier, then Italian.  It was fun just walking around town.  As the afternoon wore on, we took the trolley back towards Lake Union.  Along the way, we went by a large Guitar Center.  No, there is nothing I need, but it was fun to look around...



I played some Martins and Taylors.  Nothing to compete with that new 522ce 12-fret.

It is a short walk from there back to the Kenmore terminal/dock.  Along the way, we stopped to people watch - people enjoying the sunshine on a beach (well, not South Padre Island kinda beach, but it was near the water on Lake Union), people paddleboarding, sailing, planes landing and taking off...


Kenmore has a small patio area where you can sit outside while waiting for your flight...


15 minutes before our scheduled departure, they called our names and we were on our way to the plane.  This time, it was an Otter; a turbo-prop, more spacious than the Beaver we came in on.  Only 4 of us in a 10 passenger plane.  The pilot asked, "Anyone want to sit up here?"

"Yes, I do!"  It's been a while since I've been in the cockpit... I kinda liked it.






In about 50 minutes, we were landing at Friday Harbor...


A fun day!  Sure beats waiting in line for the ferry.  I enjoy the ferry ride, but then there would be an hour and a half to two hours getting to Seattle.  Trying to find parking.  Then the long schlep back to Anacortes to wait for the ferry.  Fun and easy... beautiful views... and just fun!  :-)


5 comments:

MarkJ said...

Wow! What a gorgeous day!!!

Tim and First Mate said...

Cool! Yea, when we flew into Friday Mary got to sit up front.

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

I do enjoy that view from the cockpit. :-)

Charlie-Captain's Cat said...

Jim, just out of curiosity, although we'd like to do that one day, what does a round trip like that cost? Maybe if I have to ask, I won't want to afford it?

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Hi Charlie. I didn't ask the Blonde about the cost, but I think it is around $150 each, one way. A splurge, but what a way to see the sights! We have skipped Seattle the last couple years, just because of the logistics. A day in "the big city", with someone else doing the driving was a lot of fun. Or, bring your boat out here and stay in Bell Harbor, right in downtown. ;-)

The best part was seeing the San Juan Islands from a different perspective.